Greetings from Berlin the AR-Filter, is an Augmented Reality Experience I created for Berlin-based artits Aram Bartholl. It accompanies the postcard series with the same title. The user is able to scan the facade of the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, using their smartphone and the app Instagram. Through an image tracker, Instagram is able the give the user a glimpse of the recent history of the building when it was on fire. Please read the statement of the artist below. The filter can be found on his profile @arambartholl (use a mobile device, to try it out.)
“Greetings from Berlin!” is a post card series commissioned by the exhibition project “Owned By Others”. Yes, the Humboldtforum (construction site) was actually on fire and produced beautiful black clouds for a brief moment in April 2020. The pictures are video stills taken from social media clips which circulated back then.
On April 8th, 2020, during insulation work in the floor area of the Humboldt-Forum two cookers with mastic asphalt caught fire and a gas cylinder exploded. Black smoke could be seen over the city, rising above the palace. Numerous Twitter users posted pictures and videos. In a surprising and paradox twist the incident added the first significant layer of authentic history to an otherwise historistic re-construction: while the visual language seemed to remind the public of the original palace’s fate, the unplanned fire itself could have been the commencement of transforming sterile veneers of a non-place into a site of local history. Sadly, the physical evidence in form of the freshly obtained patina has been erased swiftly.
Aram Bartholl’s postcard series utilizes the continuous over-production of images through social media. By transforming these pictures into a printed post cards, Bartholl demonstrates how the speed of circulation of images today may undermine marketing strategies and efforts in brand development. What image of an organization stands out, cannot be decided by its management. For neighbours like Tropicana Touristik (currently hosting ‘Museum Tropicana’) and downtown commuters the construction site fire arguably, made for one of the most entertaining incidents during the 7 1/2 years construction period of the New Berlin Palace and will shape its representation in the years to come.
“Greetings from Berlin!” is on view at “Owned By Others” temporary project space “Museum Tropicana” right across the Humboldtforum, through end of December 2020. Visitors are invited to take a few cards from the souvenir shop post card stand to send them to their relatives and friends.